The members of the Hereford football team faced an uncomfortable quandary at several practices this past season.
Bulls coach Steve Turnbaugh would pit his top two players, C.J. Feldheim and Adam Hendrix, against each other in various drills. Everyone else had to pick sides.
Pick right, and you got to go home. Pick wrong, and you got to stay and do push-ups and run hills.
"When you've got two big studs like that going up against each other, it boosts the intensity," Turnbaugh said.
Jeez, coach, could you make the choice a little harder?
Feldheim and Hendrix will represent the Maryland All-Stars tonight in the eighth annual Super 44 High School All-Star Football Game, taking on the Virginia All-Stars at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Va. Maryland will be attempting to avenge a 21-16 loss last year and even the series 4-4.
Both are two-time All-Metro and All-State selections. Both are headed to Division I programs, making them the first two Division I recruits in Hereford history.
Both are big, strong and fast - Feldheim, a defensive lineman, is 6 feet 4, 235 pounds; Hendrix, an offensive lineman, is 6-3, 255 pounds.
In other words: take your pick.
"It was probably pretty even," Feldheim said. "He'd win some, and I'd win some."
The Bulls, meanwhile, have been winning a lot, advancing to the state semifinals this year for the fourth straight time.
Feldheim, headed to Maryland, had 14 sacks, and his 66 tackles were third best on the team. He also rushed for 800 yards and 13 touchdowns. All that despite breaking his right fibula in the ninth game and missing the final three, including a 45-6 loss to Urbana in the state semifinals.
The Delaware-bound Hendrix anchored an offensive line that cleared the way for an attack that averaged nearly 400 yards a game. He added 11 sacks on the defensive side.
The tandem has helped Turnbaugh turn Hereford into a state powerhouse, compiling a 45-4 record during their four years and capturing a state title as sophomores.
"Put it this way: I'm going to miss them," Turnbaugh said.
Feldheim, who will play outside linebacker for the Terps, has always been the more touted of the two. He was named the top defensive end prospect at an invitation-only Nike training camp at Penn State in the summer of 1999. ACC Sports Journal ranked him the 13th best recruit in the state and the 57th best defensive end in the nation.
True, that was before his injury. But that was never career-threatening, and it did not slow the recruiting efforts of many of the Ivy League schools, last year's Division I national runner-up Virginia Tech, and a number of other Division I programs.
He eventually settled on Maryland because he liked the coaching staff, the school's location, and his chances for a starting spot within the next couple years.
Hendrix was less in the limelight, but he has just as much potential if not more.
The defenseman on the Bulls' state champion lacrosse team is widely considered one of the most technically sound offensive lineman in the state. He has quick feet and is extremely agile, traits he enhanced on the lacrosse field and the basketball court.
"He's the only guy I ever really have trouble with," Feldheim said. "I can't ever figure out how to get by him on the pass rush."
All that has separated Hendrix from the top recruits in the country is his size - or, rather, his lack of size. Two area coaches said he'll need to put on more weight if he wants to make a name for himself in college ranks.
Hendrix said he plans to start bulking up once he gets to Delaware. But that's the easy part. He already has developed the form and footwork the position demands. That's the hard part.
"I've seen huge lineman before who have no technique, and they're just worthless," said Hendrix, who will line up as center today. "As long as I keep my technique, I'll be fine."
Now, Coach Turnbaugh, since you put your team on the spot so often this year, it's your turn.
If you could have had only one of these two guys the past four years, who would it have been?
"It's hard to say, because they both brought so much," Turnbaugh said. "I can't answer that, I'm sorry."
Not so easy, is it?
Super 44 facts
When: Today, 6 p.m. (Gates open 4:30 p.m.)
Where: W.T. Woodson High School (capacity 12,000), Fairfax, Va.
Tickets: $10 for adults; $5 for children under 10 and students with ID in advance. $15 for adults; $5 for children under 10 and students with ID at the gate. Tickets available at all Ticketmaster outlets. Call (410) 481-SEAT or (202) 432-SEAT.
Directions: From Capital Beltway take Exit 6, Little River Turnpike (Route 236), follow signs for Fairfax West, W.T. Woodson three miles on the left.